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Commuting in Chicago heat.

Old 05-31-23, 12:14 PM
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slickrcbd
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Commuting in Chicago heat.

I just had a job interview in the Chicago Loop and I live in the suburbs. My home is about 3/4 of a mile from the Arlington Park train station and about a mile from Arlington Heights. Today the high was supposed to be 88°. I would normally take my bike to the train station, but I thought it would be too hot. I tried walking to Arlington Park but I was still drenched in sweat.
If I get the job, would taking the bike be less healthy than walking when temperatures are over 85°, or would it not make any difference?

What would be the better way to get to the train station, walking or riding in that kind of heat?
I've had temp jobs in The Loop before, but I've only managed to get ones that span fall, winter, or spring.
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Old 05-31-23, 07:36 PM
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Today, it was the humidity! I live in Chicago and find it cooler to ride and cut down on sweating!

gm
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Old 06-01-23, 01:10 PM
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For me the heat is at the afternoon commute home from work. Arriving sweaty might be a little problem but returning sweaty is not really a big deal
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Old 06-01-23, 01:17 PM
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I used to commute regularly in 110°+ heat, and still occasionally ride in those conditions (admittedly, the humidity is slightly lower). Lots of water, appropriate clothing, and keeping cleaning-up items at the destination (soap, towel, deodorant) helps.
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Old 06-01-23, 02:19 PM
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I find it much easier to take on extreme temperatures, high or low, while riding than walking. I.e., I would advise riding rather than walking. Otherwise, having worked in Africa where midday temperature of 99F were a daily norm, with no A/C, 85F is now petty for me. You just get used to this.
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Old 06-01-23, 05:45 PM
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I live 100 miles south of you.
My trick is a shower at work.
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Old 06-01-23, 06:05 PM
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I don't mind the heat while I'm riding; the problem is when I stop. If it's really bad I spray water on myself while riding to cool off, and at work I can fill a bowl with water and wipe myself down from head to toe, which is really refreshing. All you need is a private spot (I have a walk-in vault.)
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Old 06-01-23, 06:36 PM
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Cycling requires less energy than walking and the breeze cools one off. No way I would walk. A temperature of 88 degrees is much less than what is common during a Washington, DC summer, and it is far more humid here.
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Old 06-04-23, 05:05 PM
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Same as above, showering at work is golden!


I can go hard and get a decent work out riding into downtown and not worry about getting sweaty.

before then I had to be gentle with my rides and strategic with how I packed for work. Wasn’t fun
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Old 06-11-23, 09:10 PM
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One thing I've learned from talking to my aunt after she moved to Phoenix, AZ was that in Chicago and the suburbs, it's not so much the heat but the humidity. She says that it feels cooler when it's 100 degrees in Phoenix than when it's 85° in the Chicago suburbs. The humidity makes it feel 15-20 degrees hotter than the same temperature in most other parts of the country.

Still, thanks for the advice. I'll take my bike on Monday as while I've been ghosted for the job I interviewed for, I did get a 1-day temp job via a temp agency tomorrow on LaSalle St.
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Old 06-13-23, 10:17 AM
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If you only have a 3/4 mile to a train station I would definitely take the bike. At a slow speed you will be sweating way less than walking. At least this is for me. Way less effort to pedal at 5-10mph than walking. No need to race. Can you change clothes at work? Riding in shorts and T-shirt is much better than ring in work clothes. Also can you shower at work? Or are there bathrooms where you can use towels or baby wipes?
I commute in Texas heat and humidity. 5-20 miles one way depending on mood and weather. This morning 94% humidity. In summer I try to start my early morning commute as early as possible. Around 6am. This way I have at least one leg in decent temps. We have the privilege of having showers and I leave my office clothes in a locker and only bring fresh underwear and a fresh shirt.
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Old 06-14-23, 07:43 AM
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Originally Posted by slickrcbd
One thing I've learned from talking to my aunt after she moved to Phoenix, AZ was that in Chicago and the suburbs, it's not so much the heat but the humidity. She says that it feels cooler when it's 100 degrees in Phoenix than when it's 85° in the Chicago suburbs. The humidity makes it feel 15-20 degrees hotter than the same temperature in most other parts of the country.

Still, thanks for the advice. I'll take my bike on Monday as while I've been ghosted for the job I interviewed for, I did get a 1-day temp job via a temp agency tomorrow on LaSalle St.
As one who commutes year round in the Phx area that's my take too. I've been in the midwest in the summers. The humidity feels like it's sucking your vitality right out of you.
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Old 06-16-23, 06:18 PM
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dd

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Old 06-26-23, 01:36 PM
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Sorry to hear the interview resulted in a ghosting.
I grew up in the Chicago suburbs. I lived in Round Lake Beach and commuted to Northbrook. I used to do a multi-modal commute, as you're talking about doing. I tried it a few ways:
  1. Bike the whole way. It was 27 miles one way, but traffic was so bad that during rush hour, biking was faster. Still, it took too much energy.
  2. Bike 3/4 mile to the Metra station, take the train most of the way, and walk a mile on the other end. This was great, but Metra got expensive and unreliable.
  3. Bike 3/4 mile to the Metra station, take the train most of the way, and take a shuttle bus on the other end. This is what I wound up doing.
  4. Take my folding bike 3/4 mile to the Metra station, take the train most of the way, and unfold and bike the rest. On Metra in the Chicago area, a folding bike in a bag is considered luggage and can therefore be carried on the train, even during rush hour. This would have worked swimmingly, if my folding bike were better quality. It was a Dahon Curve D2 and had pulsating brake issues. It's not as fast or efficient as a full size bike, but it was nice to be able to take it on the train all the time.
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Old 06-26-23, 01:53 PM
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Re. the heat:
  • Consider an eBike. You can work as hard or easy as you want. On hot days, I go easy on the way in, sometimes barely pedaling. Go hard on the way home.
  • Consider the "Chinese Method:"
    • Be thin
    • Wear loose clothing
    • Leave the bike in a low gear
    • Pedal slowly, going maybe 6-9 mph, so you don't sweat. It's STILL 2-3X as fast as walking!
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Old 07-03-23, 02:54 AM
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Originally Posted by Smaug1
Sorry to hear the interview resulted in a ghosting.
I grew up in the Chicago suburbs. I lived in Round Lake Beach and commuted to Northbrook. I used to do a multi-modal commute, as you're talking about doing. I tried it a few ways:
  1. Bike the whole way. It was 27 miles one way, but traffic was so bad that during rush hour, biking was faster. Still, it took too much energy.
  2. Bike 3/4 mile to the Metra station, take the train most of the way, and walk a mile on the other end. This was great, but Metra got expensive and unreliable.
  3. Bike 3/4 mile to the Metra station, take the train most of the way, and take a shuttle bus on the other end. This is what I wound up doing.
  4. Take my folding bike 3/4 mile to the Metra station, take the train most of the way, and unfold and bike the rest. On Metra in the Chicago area, a folding bike in a bag is considered luggage and can therefore be carried on the train, even during rush hour. This would have worked swimmingly, if my folding bike were better quality. It was a Dahon Curve D2 and had pulsating brake issues. It's not as fast or efficient as a full size bike, but it was nice to be able to take it on the train all the time.
Options 1 and 4 are not available to me. I am not in the best of shape and even in my prime I don't think I could do more than 10-15 miles. Now I'm struggling with 5 miles with rests. I've been trying to do something about that, but I don't go for long bike rides (more than a mile) when the temperature is over 80. I'm also finding I was struggling to handle a 70lb sever when I used to be able to carry twice that 20 years ago, and so am also working with some old dumbbells to try to fix that, but the few I have only go up to a pair of 20's. I've let myself go too much.
I'm looking for a full-time permanent job, so money is tight, so I have to make due with what I have. What that is is an old bike (30 years old) my parents bought me for 8th grade graduation that is showing its age and is slightly too small for me despite being too big when it was purchased, and its replacement, a nice bike I bought a few years ago that fits me better that I am satisfied with.
Originally Posted by Smaug1
Re. the heat:
  • Consider an eBike. You can work as hard or easy as you want. On hot days, I go easy on the way in, sometimes barely pedaling. Go hard on the way home.
  • Consider the "Chinese Method:"
    • Be thin
    • Wear loose clothing
    • Leave the bike in a low gear
    • Pedal slowly, going maybe 6-9 mph, so you don't sweat. It's STILL 2-3X as fast as walking!
I don't have an e-bike, and until I get a permanent job instead of being pigeonholed into unstable temp I'm not buying things that aren't necessities. I've got too much deferred maintenance and credit card debt to consider buying an e-bike. I've got to pay off the credit card, build up some savings, and fix a few things breaking down before I consider buying stuff like that.

Sorry, I need to sig that I'm broke and so "throw money at the problem" is not really an option as I have none to spare. I thought saying I was unemployed and looking for work was enough.
Being poor sucks.

Last edited by slickrcbd; 07-10-23 at 06:26 PM.
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Old 07-03-23, 11:57 PM
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Sorry to hear of the financial and job woes.
It's good that you have two bikes to help you in the meantime.
I guess the advice to use the bike, even in the heat and just take it slow is still valid, no matter where you end up.

Is there anything you can do besides temp work? Maybe work for Amazon or as a driver for medical samples?

My brother was unemployed for the longest time and decided to apply for the electrical union. Studied up and all, passed the test, but didn't get picked in the lottery. He did wind up finding a job as an electrician's assistant for $18/hr. Keep looking for permanent work if at all possible and good luck!
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